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SHOWER

China, 1999 (MIFF 2000, Regional Focus)

Director: Zhang Yang

Opening with a wondrous fantasy concerning a high-tech automated shower modelled after a modern car-wash, Shower slams into a vision of a traditional Beijing bathhouse. A custom thousands of years old and a culture unto themselves, bathhouses promote communal equality, stripped of clothing and rank.

The bathhouse depicted in the film once served an entire community but now only retirees and ne'er-do-wells gather for daily massages, hot swims, gossip and games. Operated by ancient levers and gears, enormous boilers and leaking pipes, it is run by Lui, a community elder who was abandoned years before by his eldest son. Mistakenly believing that his father had died, the errant son returns to Beijing, unaware of what surprises lay in store..

Evoking the sublime Eat Drink Man Woman with its heartfelt look at father-child relations, it is little wonder that Yang's new film scooped numerous audience awards at international film festivals. Touching, amusing, dramatic and poignant, Shower is an absolute delight.

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